“WW84” review: A wonderful disaster

“Wonder Woman: 1984” premiered on Christmas Day in theaters and on HBO Max. (IndieWire)

Mason Dredge

When a big-budget, studio tentpole film fails to deliver, the experience of watching them is often similar. They are overly long and cliched-to-death mechanical messes that care little for quality once people have bought their tickets. “Wonder Woman: 1984” (also known as “WW84”) certainly fits the bill, a film so wildly un-cohesive that it becomes a spectacle in its own right.

“WW84” is an astoundingly stupid movie. Every choice, whether it lies in the script, the way it’s shot, the visual effects or the casting, is bizarre and nonsensical.

The film follows Diana Prince, AKA Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), as she lives in 1980s Washington D.C. and is still struggling to find her place in the world of men. When she comes across a magic rock that grants wishes (no, that’s actually in the movie), her low-key existence takes a turn when the soul of her long-dead lover Steve Trevor (Chris Pines) possesses another man’s body (yes, that’s also actually in the movie). Also, evil businessman Maxwell Lord (Pedro Pascal) wants the rock to do evil businessman things. Also, Kristen Wiig plays a nerdy scientist who wishes to become like Wonder Woman but ends up becoming a cheetah.

All of this happens in the same movie.

The film’s script is an overindulgent mess. There are so many things happening at once, the narrative focus switches at random and nothing has the time to properly develop or even make sense.

The film begins with a flashback in which a young Diana cheats to win a horse race and is then lectured on the importance of truth. The sequence is over ten minutes long and literally has no effect on anything that happens after it. This creative choice sets the tone for the film.

There is so little logic at any given point. This review could easily turn into a laundry list of faulty plot points, but I’ll focus on just one to illustrate my point. The resurrection of Steve Trevor is already problematic, with his soul taking control of a man’s body without consent. This is such a convoluted way to bring a character back to life when it would have been much easier if Trevor had magically returned physically. One could argue that the latter is contrived and lazy, but the entire film’s plot happens because various characters make a magic wish, so who cares?

Having said all that, I don’t hate this film. I actually enjoyed watching it.

That’s a backhanded compliment without a doubt, but hear me out.

Films as poorly made as “WW84” deserve a watch. Is it bad? Yes. But is it boring? Absolutely not. The film has wonderful chaotic energy as it awkwardly jumps from scene to scene. There is no anticipating whatever strange and off-putting moment comes next.

“WW84” absolutely isn’t worth risking your health going out to see in a theater, nor should you go out and buy an HBO Max subscription solely for it. But if for whatever reason, you find the movie available to you and you’ve got two and a half hours to kill, there are worse ways to do it. The film is an absolute fire, explosions, and everyone on board is dead-type of train wreck.

But it also might make you laugh, so why not?

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